This was one of the high points of my week - literally, about as high as you can get. The lunar eclipse was right outside my front door. The night was frigid, but the cloudless sky and unobstructed view beckoned. I set up my tripod and made calls to all my kids to make sure they were witnessing it. Events like this are magical to me. Think about it - something as huge as our planet casting an ordinary shadow on an object as far away as the moon. It puts everything into perspective. It also astounds me that the whole hemisphere was watching it - everyone coming together for one purpose, to marvel at the sky. We may understand the science behind it now, but I believe it still holds the power and magic that it did so long ago.
Scaling back down from the largest of wonders to the smallest magic, these tiny hands hold a similar fascination for me. I have been under the spell of Riley's hands for days now...12 to be exact. Look how she has laced each and every finger together into a complete hand fold. Think about it - we fold our hands so very easily, without even thinking about it. But a newborn? Does folding one's hands come naturally? This child has the most expressive hands. They remind me of my daughter Kerry's hands. Long, slender fingers that look beautiful, even in repose. To me, hands are the most beautiful and expressive part of a person. People are conscious of their faces and will often hide or control their expression, but no one really pays attention to their hands. There's no masking or censoring there.
Remember Alfred Stieglitz's photographs of Georgia O'Keeffe's hands. Staring at Riley's hands is nothing new for me. I'll often sit and stare at my own hands. Pose them elegantly, envision photographs, paintings, drawings I want to do. But that's one thing I do not think I will ever be able to accomplish - translating my vision of the beauty of the hand into something tangible. So instead, I use my hands to create what I can, what I feel is beautiful. Use the beautiful to create the beautiful.
For the upcoming special issue Studios from Cloth Paper Scissors, they asked us what our favorite tool was. Yes, my answer was "My hands." I can't wait to see everyone else's favorite tool. Did anyone else say hands? I also cannot wait to see how my little congested bedroom studio plays out against all those other spacious, bright, dedicated studio spaces. Fortunately for me, and for many of you, I am sure, you don't need a grand studio to make grand work. What is important is that you create. Space or place is no excuse for not creating.
And that brings me to my other news for this week in review. I have been working on my classes for the upcoming online Quilting Arts Festival. It's a radically new format for taking classes. Several teachers have filmed one hour classes that will be presented online. I missed the first filming because of Riley, but I will soon be heading to Massachusetts to film my two classes. So yes, I will be teaching this year, right in your home, at your convenience. They're still working on the website and classes should be announced next week. Go there and sign up now so you'll be notified the minute they start taking registration. And better yet, if you like "home-study", order the Quilting Arts TV DVDs. I have small segments on 3 different shows. 13 shows in all, LOTS of gorgeous quilts and mixed media ideas.
So, please, go create something today. Choose the place, find the space. Let your hands be your inspiration. Mark-making, handprints, finger-painting. The power lies within your hands. Start and the art will follow. More than any other part of the body, our hands reveal our inner state. ~ Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov